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Have a busy day ahead? You may be tempted to get takeout for dinner, but there’s a better way: Pull out your Crock-Pot. Toss a few ingredients in it in the morning, and by the time you walk in the door at night, your dinner will be ready. Best of all, there are Crock-Pot dinner ideas to suit every palate. Chicken, beef, pork, or vegetarian—whatever your preference, you can find slow cooker dinner ideas to meet your needs. Here are 27 of the best.
1. Salsa Chicken
Salsa chicken is a great Crock-Pot meal because it can be used in so many different ways—and it’s incredibly easy to make. This slow cooker chicken recipe calls for just two ingredients: chicken and salsa. When it’s done cooking, you can shred the chicken and use it as taco filling, to top nachos, or in a burrito bowl.
2. Tropical Pulled Chicken
For a sweet and tangy twist on pulled chicken, try this slow cooker chicken recipe. Pineapple and ginger add a tropical flavor profile to the chicken, and once you shred it, you can pile it high on a bun with some coleslaw for a quick and easy dinner. Then, use the leftovers in lettuce wraps, in tacos, or on a bed of rice.
3. Butter Chicken
An Indian dish simmered in a spiced tomato-based cream sauce, this butter chicken is just as good as takeout. The list of ingredients may look intimidating, but there’s very little prep work required. Simply combine all the ingredients in your Crock-Pot, and cook for four to eight hours. Finish with a bit of butter and heavy cream. Then, serve it with basmati rice or warm naan.
4. Honey Sriracha Chicken
This Crock-Pot chicken recipe uses chicken thighs that turn out tender and juicy. You’ll smother them with a combination of ketchup, soy sauce, honey, sriracha, and lime juice to create an Asian-inspired sauce. After the chicken cooks in the Crock-Pot, serve it over rice or noodles, and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
5. Crock-Pot Pepper Steak
Pepper steak in the Crock-Pot requires a bit of preparation (like browning the steak before adding it to the slow cooker)—but it’s well worth the effort. This pepper steak recipe can be served over rice or noodles for a hearty, flavorful dinner.
6. Slow Cooker Steak and Gravy
You might be surprised to hear that you can cook steak in a slow cooker, but you can—and it always turns out tender and flavorful. This classic recipe for steak and gravy works best with a London broil or top sirloin steak. Pair it with some mashed potatoes and a side of roasted broccoli for a traditional dinner, or try it on top of some pasta for something a little different.
7. Soy Ginger Skirt Steak
You can also use a slow cooker to create different variations of steak and gravy. This recipe for soy ginger skirt steak, for example, boasts the same tender texture and flavorful sauce, but with an Asian twist. Serve it with rice and top it with green onions and cilantro.
8. Steak Fajitas
This recipe for slow cooker steak fajitas starts with a ribeye or flank steak. Then, all you have to do is add a few peppers and onions and some marinara sauce, and let it simmer for a few hours. Serve it with tortillas for true fajitas, or pair it with rice for a flavorful burrito bowl.
9. Chicken Gnocchi Soup
This hearty soup is loaded with chicken, gnocchi, spinach, and bacon. You can do most of the prep work in the morning, then add the gnocchi and evaporated milk about an hour before serving. Add some warm bread on the side, and you have a perfect meal for a cold night.
10. Sausage, Cabbage, and Sweet Potato Stew
Purple cabbage gives this stew its bright purple color—and it pairs perfectly with the rich sausage. Plus, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Whole30-friendly, so it’s perfect if you want to be mindful of allergies and food intolerances.
11. Beef Stew
This slow cooker beef stew is hearty enough to be a meal on its own, or you can serve it atop rice or mashed potatoes. It’s filled with tender beef, potatoes, and vegetables, all mixed into a flavorful broth.
12. White Chicken Chili
Chili is one of the best slow cooker stews for a cold winter evening. This variation, made in a Crock-Pot with chicken, green chilis, white beans, and salsa verde, is a healthier take on traditional chili. And, it’s deliciously creamy with the addition of a bit of cream cheese (or dairy-free cream cheese) at the very end. Dish it up and top it off with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and shredded cheese.
13. BBQ Pulled Pork
Part of the appeal of using a slow cooker is that you can simply toss your ingredients in the Crock-Pot and go. But did you know you can also braise and stew meats in a slow cooker? With this recipe, learn how to make fall-off-the-fork pulled pork and techniques for maximizing the flavor of all your future Crock-Pot meals.
14. Garlic Balsamic Pork Loin
This slow cooker pork recipe is easy enough for a weeknight family dinner—but it’s also impressive enough for a dinner party. Cooking it in a Crock-Pot will make the meat incredibly tender, and the seasonings and spices—including garlic, onion, and balsamic vinegar—result in a flavor-packed dish.
15. Crispy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Craving tacos or quesadillas? Make a big batch of these slow cooker pork carnitas. Cooking them low and slow in the Crock-Pot will make them tender and juicy, and you can finish them in the oven for a little extra crisp. Don’t forget to top them with cilantro and diced onion!
16. Pork Roast
A basic pork roast is one of the best slow cooker dinner ideas; it’s simple and flavorful—and it can likely feed your family for a few nights, depending on how many you’re cooking for. This recipe calls for just five ingredients. Add them to your Crock-Pot, cook the roast low and slow, and serve with some potatoes and vegetables.
17. Pot Roast
Looking for a hearty, comforting dinner? Try this slow cooker pot roast recipe. Pro tip: Seasoning your food well is essential when making Crock-Pot recipes. This recipe uses a mixture of thyme, sage, marjoram, basil, oregano, and rosemary to ensure the roast comes out incredibly flavorful.
18. Beef Stroganoff
This slow cooker beef recipe isn’t a dump-and-go type of recipe; it does require a little prep work, like browning the meat and sauteing the onions. However, those steps are essential to enhance the texture and flavor of the dish. The final step: Add the egg noodles during the last 20 minutes of cook time.
19. Beef Ragu With Pappardelle
If you’re not familiar with ragu, it’s a traditional meat-based Italian sauce, usually served with pasta. In this version, a flank steak is braised in the slow cooker with vegetables, garlic, and tomatoes to come together in a thick, flavorful gravy. Then, simply shred the beef and pour the hearty sauce over some thick pappardelle.
20. Beef Barbacoa
Smoky, spicy, and just a bit citrusy, this beef barbacoa recipe is perfect for rice bowls, salads, or even breakfast casseroles. Taking the time to braise your beef before cooking it in the Crock-Pot will help lock in the juices and keep your meat moist, even after you shred it.
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21. Salsa Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Crock-Pot cooking is designed to be easy, but this slow cooker recipe takes it to another level of simplicity. Instead of cooking chicken in the Crock-Pot, use rotisserie chicken. Then, layer with quinoa, black beans, salsa, and cheese, and you have a delicious meal.
22. Breakfast Casserole
Not all slow cooker casseroles have to be served at dinner. This breakfast casserole is perfect for a weekend brunch or holiday breakfast. Combine everything in the Crock-Pot right after you wake up, and by late morning, you’ll have breakfast ready for a crowd.
23. Cowboy Casserole
Filled with hearty potatoes, beans, ground beef, and diced tomatoes, this recipe is perfect to feed a large family or crowd. If you need to stretch it to feed more mouths, simply add an extra can of beans and tomatoes! And, it’s easy to customize. Try using different types of beans, vegetables, cheese, or seasonings to create a version that’s perfect for your family.
24. Pizza Casserole
Want to get your kids on board with slow cooker casseroles? Well, if they love pizza and pasta, this pizza casserole recipe is the best of both worlds. It’s a surefire kid favorite—but with all the flavor in this dish, adults will love it, too.
Ratatouille, a French dish of stewed vegetables, is often made by tediously placing thinly sliced vegetables in a perfect spiral. This quicker, easier slow cooker version doesn’t require hours of molding vegetables—but it does result in perfectly cooked potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, and squash.
26. Vegetable Lasagna
Did you know you can make lasagna in a slow cooker? With no-boil noodles, you can! Just layer the noodles with jarred sauce, shredded cheese, and tons of fresh vegetables—all ingredients you may already have in your pantry—and you’ll have a savory, satisfying lasagna.
27. Butternut Squash Soup
Craving something warm and comforting? In this soup, the flavor of butternut squash pairs perfectly with crisp apples and fragrant curry powder. And, a little coconut milk at the end gives it an irresistible creaminess.
So, What’s on the Menu Tonight?
These Crock-Pot dinner ideas will make your mornings and evenings smoother. Plus, they’re flavorful, hearty, and diverse, so you can easily find a meal that you and your family will love. From slow cooker stews and soups to chicken and steak, there’s a recipe on this list for everyone.
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